Thursday’s Briefing: Sessions Warns States on Legal Weed; Algae Toxin Is Killing California Sea Lions

Plus, Oakland family to be split up by President Trump’s crackdown on immigration.


Stories you shouldn’t miss for Aug. 10, 2017:

1. United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued warning letters to four states that have legalized cannabis for adult recreational use: Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, reports Rick Anderson of the LA Times$. The letters raise questions as to whether the Trump Department of Justice is planning to crack down on states that have legalized pot. California’s marijuana legalization law goes into effect on Jan. 1. Sessions, a far-right conservative, has described cannabis as being nearly as dangerous as heroin, even though there are no known deaths from weed overdose.

2. Sea lions off the California coast are dying in disturbing numbers after eating fish that were poisoned by domoic acid, a neurotoxin produced by an algae bloom in ocean waters, reports Peter Fimrite of the San Francisco Chronicle$. Since June, the Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands has treated 89 sick sea lions, and 31 of them have died. Domoic acid also forced the closure of the local 2015-16 Dungeness crab season.

3. An Oakland family is being split up by President Trump’s immigration crackdown, reports Hamed Aleaziz of the San Francisco Chronicle$. Trump has said that he only planned to target “bad hombres,” yet federal immigration officials are deporting members of the Mendoza-Sanchez family despite the fact that they have never run afoul of the law. The mother of the family, Maria Mendoza-Sanchez, “owns a home in Oakland, has no criminal record, and works as a nurse in the cardiology and oncology wing of Highland Hospital.”

4. BART consultants say the transit agency’s police auditor should have more authority to probe officer misconduct, reports Erin Baldassari of the East Bay Times$. The state legislature established the police auditor position after BART cops killed Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland in 2009, but the auditor lacks authority to initiate investigations of numerous different types of misconduct cases.

5. And President Trump has continued to criticize GOP-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the Senate’s rejection of the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, CNN reports. The growing rift between Trump and McConnell also raises doubts about whether they will be able enact deep tax cuts for the wealthy as the president has promised.  

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